6 Frequently Asked Questions About Women’s Shelter in Lancaster, PA

Being in a situation where you could lose your housing can feel so overwhelming and very scary but there are many options and services available to women and children seeking shelter in Lancaster Pennsylvania. At Water Street Mission we want you to feel welcome and safe and know that you are not alone.

Lillie Otte, Director of Residential Ministries at Water Street Mission answers some of the most frequently asked questions from women seeking information on women’s shelters in Lancaster County Pennsylvania.


Women’s shelter question #1:What do most homeless shelters provide?

Every shelter is different. Water Street Mission in particular offers shelter for women and children as well as adults without their children on campus we also have a longer term residential program for guests who are interested in going deeper in their own personal healing journey. All women who receive services at Water Street Mission have access to case managers and life coaches. These staff members help our guests create individualized action plans to move forward in their Journey as well as access other community services and resources.

Those guests who want to take advantage of our residential program have different opportunities. They’re able to enjoy life coaching, more connections with case managers, and they also have one-on-one counseling there’s career and financial coaching as well as other opportunities to explore inner healing through our trauma-informed spiritual care model.

Women’s shelter question #2:What does it mean to be trauma-informed?

A trauma-informed spiritual care model really means that we try to create a safe and welcoming and dignifying space and time for guests to really step back from some of the things they’ve been going through and really reflect on what they want to do going forward in their own journey.

Women’s shelter question #3:What’s the longest you can stay at our shelter?

Our emergency shelter Services last up to 67 days. Women who are accepted into our residential program have no set time frame but it tends to be a longer time as each individual heals and goes through this journey at a different pace.

Women’s shelter question #4:How do I find an emergency shelter near me?

The first step to finding services in Lancaster county is to call 2-1-1. They will assist you in navigating the system and finding appropriate shelter or housing options. Please note though that at this time Water Street Mission is not accepting walk-in intakes.

Women’s shelter question #5:Can my children stay with me at the shelter?

Moms with kids at Water Street Mission always stay in family style dorms regardless of whether you are here for emergency shelter or in our longer term residential program. Our team of staff and life coaches works to uphold parenting so that Mom is really equipped to feel that she’s present and available for her kids as mom while they’re here for their time with us.

We also have an on-campus children’s ministry that provides opportunities for kids who are here with their moms or their caregivers to really just be a kid during a really challenging season of life. There’s a variety of activities as well as some lessons about who God is and his character and how he loves us. We have an amazing team that’s really dedicated to helping our kids feel safe and welcome while they’re here.

Women’s shelter question #6:Do night shelters charge?

All of Water Street’s missions emergency shelter services are free of charge. If a guest were to move into our residential program we do ask that a small portion of their earned income would go towards paying a program fee while they are with us. This helps our guests adjust and get ready for the reality of paying for rent and other bills after their time at Water Street ends.


At Water Street Mission we are here for you we’ll be glad to meet you and ready to walk alongside you in what could be a really scary and challenging time of life. We truly believe that God has wonderful plans for each person including you and it is a joy to be involved in this part of your journey. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need our assistance.

About Water Street

Since 1905, Water Street Mission has provided an environment of hope and healing where at-risk men, women, and children in Lancaster County can find help and restoration with God.

In addition to food and shelter, all guests have access to medical, dental, behavioral health, spiritual, and career support while on campus. 

For more information about the programs and services of Water Street Mission, visit www.wsm.org.